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Old 8th Jul 2017, 08:45   #1 (permalink)
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225 cleared to fly in UK & Norway

Super Puma 225 helicopters, which were grounded after a crash in Norway, are to fly over the North Sea again.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Norwegian authorities have allowed flights to resume if operators meet new safety conditions.
These include more frequent inspections and earlier replacement of components.
A crash involving the helicopter off the coast of Norway killed 13 people, including Iain Stewart from Aberdeenshire, in April 2016.
CAA head of airworthiness John McColl said: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly. It has only been made after receiving extensive information from the Norwegian accident investigators and being satisfied with the subsequent changes introduced by Airbus Helicopters through detailed assessment and analysis.
"The safety of those who travel on offshore helicopter flights is a key priority for both the UK and Norwegian aviation authorities.
"We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards."
The CAA said that helicopters will not begin flying immediately. A plan of checks, modifications and inspections needs to be undertaken before any flights take place.
These include:
Change in the design by removal of the components that were susceptible to premature deterioration
Earlier replacement of component
Design change to introduce an improved maintenance inspection method to detect any deterioration at an early stage
More frequent inspections
Reduction in the thresholds for rejecting components based upon early signs of any deterioration
Mr McColl added: "We continue to work with the helicopter operators, the offshore industries, international regulators, unions and pilot representatives to enhance offshore safety standards still further and all these parties are actively involved in ongoing discussions."
Les Linklater, executive director of the offshore industry safety group Step Change in Safety, said: "At this time, there is an ongoing Airbus survey for pilots and passengers regarding these specific helicopters' flight safety and comfort, which was issued just one week ago. It's our understanding that this survey still has a further three weeks to run.
"Given the importance of the workforce's opinion regarding this highly emotive subject we do not feel it's appropriate to make any further comment until Airbus has gathered, and shared, the survey's results and can demonstrate how they intend to address any concerns raised by the workforce.
"We would encourage all members of the workforce to participate and have their voices heard."


Norway crash helicopter type cleared to fly - BBC News
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 10:04   #2 (permalink)
 
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Has anyone seen the survey yet? It was going to workers and pilots apparently.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 10:10   #3 (permalink)
 
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Has anyone seen the survey yet? It was going to workers and pilots apparently.
Its on the O&G people website under the news section, and on the airbus website or here:

Airbus Helicopters Survey ? Outreach to oil and gas workers
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 13:21   #4 (permalink)
 
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The survey studiously avoids any controversial topics.
The nearest it comes to intersecting the real world is when it lists the 4 corrective actions taken wrt the gear box and asks whether the respondent was aware of them.
Possibly the meat is the questions whether the opinion of the employer, the union, the pilot or the fellow workers are very important in deciding to use the aircraft.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 13:46   #5 (permalink)
 
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"We would not have made this decision unless we were convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards."

The measures don't seem all that different to what was proposed when the European regulator approved flying 225s some months back. So it would help if some of the detailed analysis could be published. If we accept (and I do) that the regulators are independent, ignoring any political or commercial pressure; then, presumably, the detailed analysis has been based on examining the condition of a large number of both types of epicyclic used in the 225. Is it the case that the results of such a study have "convinced that the changes to the helicopters and their maintenance restore the required airworthiness standards"? While I am sure it will be discussed in the final report, some details of this analysis would help support the decision to go flying. The problem Unite, the pax, operators etc. have, is that unless they have seen the details, all they do know for sure is; (1) this issue has killed twice and (2) both these regulators got the decision wrong once before.

Last edited by birmingham; 8th Jul 2017 at 17:29.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 14:45   #6 (permalink)
 
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(1) this issue has killed twice
You made an assumption that many experts tried hard to proof to exist.

So far the so called solution had been introducing more idiot proof maintenance and has no impact to the design a part from adding an extra mag plug.

If politic has no place in the final report, it will be very interesting to see how they turn the "findings" early in the preliminary report into a non issue.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 14:58   #7 (permalink)
 
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Isn't this all moot given that everyone has moved on from the 225 (almost everyone anyway)?
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 17:24   #8 (permalink)
 
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Isn't this all moot given that everyone has moved on from the 225 (almost everyone anyway)?
Well it is in the sense that even if it had been possible to find an absolutely definitive failure mode and remove it, the H225 or any other heavy for that matter, would still struggle. The market for that class of a/c in the E&P sector has certainly peaked. The S92 has gained share since the accident but, otherwise we would be seeing quite a few of those permanently withdrawn too.

The accident, the oil slump and the maturity of the North Sea have created something of a perfect storm here.

I think the future for these types is largely a military one.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 17:28   #9 (permalink)
 
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Those who have 'moved on' are in serious danger of the numbers coming back and biting them in the ar5e.

That's partly because the numbers tell us that a highly popular type that does a huge proportion of the work and goes that long without a fatality is ground-breaking. It's also because there are competitor types out there that have been involved in hundreds or thousands of fatalities.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 18:00   #10 (permalink)
 
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It's also because there are competitor types out there that have been involved in hundreds or thousands of fatalities.
Seriously ??? Care to share which type has killed hundreds or thousands of people ????
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 18:24   #11 (permalink)
 
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Jim..........

I have told you a million times........... stop exaggerating
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 18:45   #12 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by jimf671 View Post
Those who have 'moved on' are in serious danger of the numbers coming back and biting them in the ar5e.

That's partly because the numbers tell us that a highly popular type that does a huge proportion of the work and goes that long without a fatality is ground-breaking. It's also because there are competitor types out there that have been involved in hundreds or thousands of fatalities.
Can you point to any evidence to support your claims?
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 19:11   #13 (permalink)
 
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There is a gap still in the North Sea for the 225 but it would be hard to convince customers to contract it.

The range.

Did the 225's have to make stops (or be positioned) out of Sumburgh to reach some of the further afield platforms?

What is it the 225 can do that the 92 can't? Is that important for the customer? If so, then we may well see a return to Aberdeen with the 225. After all, it's actually quite a nice aircraft and it does it job well (Disregarding the one in a million type freak accident)

If it happened again though even after all these additional safeguards, can you imagine the subsequent fall out.
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Old 8th Jul 2017, 19:42   #14 (permalink)
 
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There is a gap still in the North Sea for the 225 but it would be hard to convince customers to contract it.

The range.

Did the 225's have to make stops (or be positioned) out of Sumburgh to reach some of the further afield platforms?

What is it the 225 can do that the 92 can't? Is that important for the customer? If so, then we may well see a return to Aberdeen with the 225. After all, it's actually quite a nice aircraft and it does it job well (Disregarding the one in a million type freak accident)

If it happened again though even after all these additional safeguards, can you imagine the subsequent fall out.
What is it the 225 can do that the 92 can't?

I'm biting my tongue at that one...
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 00:36   #15 (permalink)
 
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The 225 had more pax/payload over longer distances than the 92 (in part due to the external fuel tanks rather than the 92s internal ones). It was also about $5-7m cheaper to purchase, which resulted in lower costs to the operators and customers.


But like many had said about, moot point now. No major operator will use them for O&G work again.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 00:41   #16 (permalink)
 
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... that the 92 can't?

Not shake your teeth out?
Not deafen the Captain?
Range-Payload?
Autopilot?
Escape windows?
Float?
MGB run dry time?
...
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 04:11   #17 (permalink)
 
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Return to service.
I enjoyed flying the EC225. I hope I'm never asked to fly one^again.

I've seen nothing to suggest Airbus knows why* the failures that saw the rotor system detach, occurred. How can they seriously claim to have mitigated the risk of another rotor detachment causing the death of all on board?

^ or an AS332L2 with the same failure history.
* My understanding- they know what failed, not why.

V the S92
I'm amazed the payload/range debate is not settled.
I'm unfamiliar with the S92, but used to fly an EC225 on a contract which also had S92s. On occasions, we couldn't carry the required payload, and the S92 could. Some conditions must favour one machine. From memory, it was the high ambient temp that was a major factor in the S92s advantage in that relatively long range OS operation.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 10:48   #18 (permalink)
 
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Reminds me of the Comet-Boeing 707 situation in a way.

A couple of Comets made like their namesake and it got grounded....in the meanwhile the 707 was out there flying and gaining buyers/Users.

When the problems got sorted on the Comet it was simply too late for it to recover its place in the World Market.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 15:58   #19 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ View Post
Seriously ??? Care to share which type has killed hundreds or thousands of people ????

In all fairness he is maybe slightly exaggerating but not much:

S-61:
Civil: >181 Fatalities
Incl. Mil: >458 Fatalities
S-76:
>181 Fatalities


P.S.:
I don't have the figures for the Mi-8 but that will be easily in the Thousands.
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Old 9th Jul 2017, 19:32   #20 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by rrekn View Post
The 225 had more pax/payload over longer distances than the 92 (in part due to the external fuel tanks rather than the 92s internal ones). It was also about $5-7m cheaper to purchase, which resulted in lower costs to the operators and customers.


But like many had said about, moot point now. No major operator will use them for O&G work again.
Your fuel tank placement is incorrect.
92 has external tanks in the sponsons.
225 has internal tanks circa 4000lbs plus and additional 500lbs in each sponson. Same fuel uplift in both machines
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